The Iron Duke

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook Read Free Book Online
Authors: Meljean Brook
wouldn’t draw attention to themselves. No, they’d simply find another smuggling route, and continue selling the slaves to fund their society.
    “Of course, Mad Machen has killed fourteen of their slavers, and they’ve never gunned for him—or dropped a dead body on his ship.” Scarsdale weaved before he rested his head against the sofa arm again. “Maybe the threat wasn’t aimed at you. Someone might have heard I was here.”
    Yes. Most of his crew had made enemies, somewhere. The inspector might be finding that out now. But even if they didn’t tell her, she had a blasted quick mind. Detective Inspector Wilhelmina Wentworth would fill in the missing pieces on her own.
    Damn St. John for bringing her here.
    And damn Rhys’s own arrogance, that he hadn’t booted both the inspector and her constable back through the gates the moment they’d arrived. But he’d been certain how their visit would proceed: The inspector would be an ass-sniffing dog, eager to serve. Rhys would decide whether she could be of use to him, at present or in the future. Then he would send the inspector on her way and continue searching for the coward who’d trespassed in his home.
    He still couldn’t determine at which point she’d blown him off course. Perhaps the moment she’d first turned to face him, wearing her intelligence and determination like a mask. Or perhaps when he’d seen a flicker of heat as he’d stripped off her glove.
    He damn well hadn’t expected the flare of desire he’d felt in return—not for a detective inspector with cold, inscrutable eyes . . . and a glove that belonged to a lady.
    Wentworth. He didn’t recognize the family name. He rarely interacted with the peers who’d been born under the Horde; they had no money to invest or goods to trade. If she was the daughter of a peer, chances were that her mother had been a Horde whore. Most of them had left for the Americas after the revolution, however. So had most of the mongrel children they’d borne. Why had the inspector stayed?
    “Who is she?”
    Scarsdale lifted his head. After one glance at Rhys’s face, he closed his eyes again. “I know that look. A fine ship comes over the horizon, and you want what it’s carrying. Let this one sail on, captain.”
    Rhys shook his head. Scarsdale had mistaken his intentions. He didn’t intend to steal her. He’d met few officers of any sort who weren’t for sale, and he doubted that Wilhelmina Wentworth would be any different. He simply wanted to know her price.
    A scratch at the door stopped his response. A moment later, Mrs. Lavery announced the inspector.
    She swept in, her back straight, her shoulders squared. A small thing, but not weak. Her dark eyes seemed to take him in all at once, her gaze cool and assessing. He couldn’t detect the spark of heat she’d shown earlier—but he knew it was there. What would it take for her to reveal it again?
    In the hall, the red giant stood watching her. Protective, but not as a man was toward his woman.
    That shouldn’t have pleased Rhys as much as it did. He didn’t intend to have her. Yet just by looking at her, desire twisted in his gut—not sexual hunger, but an urgent need to possess. Perhaps Scarsdale had read him better than he’d thought.
    But no matter the effect she had on him, Rhys wouldn’t let her push him off course again.
    “Have you finished?”
    “Yes. No one saw his fall or recognized him,” she said. For a woman of small size and clipped words, she had a low, full voice. No breathiness, no softness. “When we establish his identity, however, we may of course have more questions—and perhaps the motive will become clear.”
    “You’ll send updates to me.”
    Her soft mouth tightened before she nodded. “I’ll inform Superintendent Hale of your request.”
    They both knew it hadn’t been a request—and they both knew those updates would be sent. He allowed her the small victory of not reporting to him personally.
    Looking away

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